Science: A Floating High-Rent District

RCA collects bids of $90.1 million for space on a new satellite

It was an auctioneer's dream come true.

Last week, within the starkly modern precincts of one of its Manhattan galleries, Sotheby Parke Bernet, which has put on the block everything from Turner paintings to venerable bottles of Chateau Rothschild, virtually sold empty space. And racked up a record $90.1 million sale doing it.

Sotheby's was helping RCA sell space on its new communications satellite, Satcom IV, scheduled to be launched Jan. 12. As Sotheby's president, John L. Marion, opened the bidding, he stood in front of a back-lit picture of an orbiting...

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